Roller Coasters & Giant Elephants: The Most Bonkers Theme Park Ever

Ever wonder despairingly to yourself: Why oh why isn't there a theme park (complete with roller coasters) based on Ben Hur, Cleopatra, Gangs of New York, The Good the Bad and the Ugly AND the works of Frederico Fellini? Well, great news: Italy has finally ridden to your rescue!

According to Variety, the park was originally conceived as a kind of Italian Universal Studios, using the famous Cinecittà Studios to attract some sweet, sweet tourist scrip. Makes sense... in theory. But we're not talking Jaws and Indiana Jones, here. Because of what's actually been shot at Cinecittà, the park is based on a bizarro grab bag. Inspirations range from Ben Hur to Fellini:

The look is a mix of sword and sandals epics, Fellinesque and Bollywood elements, including gigantic elephants, science fiction, spaghetti westerns and many other themes concocted by Ferretti from the more than 3,000 movies and TV shows produced at Cinecitta, once known as Hollywood on the Tiber.


That sounds bananas and also AMAZING? Can I hang out inside the elephants, Moulin Rouge-style? Can I bring mushrooms if I'm discreet?

The entrance to the Eternal City's unique cinematic theme park is through the gigantic mouth of the Temple of Moloch (pictured), inspired by Italy's great 1914 silent blockbuster epic "Cabiria," about a Roman girl who is abducted during the Punic Wars, believed to have inspired the Babylonian scenes in D.W. Griffith's 1916 "Intolerance." The theme park's ensuing promenade is a replica of the 19th century New York set created by Ferretti for "Gangs of New York."



What is the market for a theme park whose big splashy entrance references a SILENT FILM about the PUNIC WARS? Americans will wait five hours for some Harry Potter ride, but anything prior to 1985? Forget it. Is the plan to attract some assortment of hardcore film buffs, steampunk enthusiasts, ecstatic Latin scholars and moody cigarette-smoking teens? Because that's what I'm picturing! Do I get a discount for attending in costume as Gloria Swanson? Who in the hell dreamed this up?


What IS this? Is this real life?


Also among the attractions: "a dark motion simulator ride called 'Dante's Inferno.'" This place is just too good to be true. Oh, and in addition to 19th century Manhattan they've got random, dusty stretches of the Old West:


This in particular looks like a fucking blast:


I've always wanted to ride a log flume through a Roman aqueduct as envisioned by Ben Hur; so excited to finally live the dream! BRB, buying a plane ticket before this place goes out of business because you can't run a business on acid-dropping cinema-loving Roman history nerds alone.

Photos via Getty and also my deepest desires.

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